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GARY CALDWELL LOOKS AHEAD TO ‘EXCITING’ WALSALL CLASH

19 February 2016

Gary looks ahead to promotion chasing clash.

  • Gary Caldwell’s Walsall preview.
  • James, McNaughton and Jacobs fitness discussed.
  • Clash with Saddlers set to be exciting with around 1,700 fans travelling.
Speaking to Latics PlayerHD at Christopher Park ahead of Latics’ visit to Walsall in Sky Bet League One, manager Gary Caldwell said he’s excited for the third versus fourth clash, discussing squad fitness, recent form and the midweek Development Squad friendly against Burnley.

GARY CALDWELL ON… WALSALL TEST

“We looked at the fixtures a few weeks ago and picked this out as a big game in our season in terms of promotion and where we want to go.

“We’re looking forward to it and as I’ve said to the players, you want these games to come around, but you’ve got to be ready for them when they do.

“We’ve been involved in some big games this year and this is another one, it’s got all of the ingredients to be an exciting League One fixture.

“They’re at home and will have to come out to try and win the game.  We can go there and play in many different ways, like we did at Sheffield United, we showed that we can adapt and we’ve got a game plan that we believe will win us the game on the day.

“Walsall are a good team and I expect it to be a close game.  I’ve seen them a number of times this season and they’re a very good football team, to me they play the right way and they have players who can hurt you.

“We know it will be a difficult game, but as always we believe in our own abilities and believe we can win.”

GARY ON… TRAVELLING SUPPORT



“It’s incredible and we say it every week, but it can’t go unnoticed because the following we’ve had away from home this season has given us more belief and encouragement to go and get results.

“Because it’s such a big game, we’ll need them right the way through to get behind us and I’m sure we’ll get the result that they want.”

GARY ON… REACTION AFTER OLDHAM DRAW



Will Grigg in action during 0-0 draw with Oldham Athletic.

“It was disappointing in terms of the performance against Oldham last weekend, but we added another big point in terms of keeping us in the hunt for automatic promotion.

“Keeping our unbeaten run going which now stands at 10 games was very important.  We’ve been unbeaten and playing well, so it keeps us going and we remain positive going into a big weekend.

“Walsall will have that exact same ambition to win as us because they’ve had a tough couple of results recently.”

GARY ON… MIDWEEK FRIENDLY V BURNLEY



Reece James being assessed.

“The players came through the friendly against Burnley okay, but Reece (James) had a little problem after it with his ankle injury, but we’re still not fully sure what it is, so we’ll be monitoring him closely.

“Kevin (McNaughton) came through it fine which is great news because he’s been out for such a long time and I know it’s been frustrating for him.

“He’s on the way back now and he’s been training really well.  He’s been the model professional during his recovery, and it’s been great to see him back playing.

“It’s very positive to see Craig (Davies) and Haris (Vuckic) scoring, but with any player who hasn’t been playing regularly, we need to get them ready to play when called upon, so Tuesday’s game was important for that.

“The players who featured showed great attitudes towards the game.  I know it’s not easy to play in those games, but they worked very hard and then trained on Thursday, so they’re all ready and available for selection.”

GARY ON… MICHAEL JACOBS’ RECOVERY



“Michael Jacobs is progressing really well.  He’s working hard and done everything he needs to do, so he’s going on a little break now to get him ready for the last little bit of his rehab.

“We’ll get a scan done on him next week and see where he is in terms of how much we can push him, but he’s working really hard and shouldn’t be too far away.”

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